VTA will implement a number of service changes early next year. Nearly all the changes were approved by the board earlier in the Spring. A number of commuter express routes will have new hybrid buses with better seating and free wifi. Those include lines 102, 103, 120, 121, 122, 182, and 183. Line 183 will be a new route from the Evergreen/Eastridge area to Fremont BART via Hostetter Light Rail. It is a route requested by VTA's MTC liaison Dave Cortese.
In addition, line 23 will have frequency going from every 12 minutes to every 10 minutes to address the recent overcrowding. Line 22 will have additional trips. Line 16 in Morgan Hill will lose service during the midday hours.
Earlier today the Caltrain board approved a public hearing over possible fare changes. While the details has yet to be released, Caltrain staff is planning to raise the fares on the paper ticket and eliminate the 8-ride ticket for Clipper (while the regular fare for Clipper stay the same). Under that scenario, Caltrain would follow Golden Gate Transit to provide discounts for all Clipper users. The 8-ride ticket is a headache for many Caltrain users. Many riders have to purchase the ticket online, wait a few days to load, and then still have to tag on and off for every ride. If a rider has an 8-ride ticket for zone 1 and 2 but wants to travel to zone 3, that rider can't deduct a ride off the ticket and pay an upgrade, but instead will have to pay a one way fare for the entire trip.
The Clipper implementation is mostly a disaster, but MTC is making transit agencies to do it with the threat of withholding funds.
Besides Clipper, Caltrain is almost completing the station reconstruction at Santa Clara and platform additions in San Jose. At the Santa Clara Caltrain Station, there will be a new center platform for the northbound Caltrain as well as Capitol Corridor and ACE trains operating on the Union Pacific track. When the construction is scheduled to finish sometime later this month, both ACE and Capitol Corridor trains will stop at the new platform, which riders can transfer to the line 10 bus to San Jose Airport.
ACE used to stop at the Santa Clara Station from 2001 to 2005, when Caltrain essentially evicted ACE when it added Baby Bullet service. ACE had to switch to the northbound Caltrain track in order to make a stop at Santa Clara.
Next month, SamTrans will introduce a day pass but will eliminate paper monthly passes. Riders will need to have a Clipper Card to load monthly passes.